Great expectation has been raised now that the new law on rental eviction procedure and a few other bits and pieces has been approved. Because what this new law intends to do is to help boot a defaulting tenant in a matter of days, or so it seems when you read it (it now talks about “days” as opposed to “months”). The reality however is that for all its good intents and purposes it is quite possible that landlords will still have to resort to switching off water and electricity supplies, calling in a couple of Liverpool heavies or hiring a failed guitarist to make nights unbearable by playing “Stairway to Heaven” outside the apartment for hours on end. The reason is that, even if the new law is clearly envisaged to speed up kicking out tenants, the stark reality is that Courts in Spain are so slow that it is difficult to see how switching procedures (to a quicker one) and reducing significantly the time to comply with an eviction notice (fifteen days) can succeed.
According to a report released by a Law Firm in Barcelona (Alboreca Abogados de Vivienda), after reading more than 2,000 Court rulings and interviewing a fraction of those poor landlords, the time to finally get a sentence to “launch” (as Spanish law calls it) your hated tenant averages six months and fourteen days. The problem is that you then need to execute this ruling so that eventually the police can effective throw the bastard out and this will take another three months and sixteen days so you are looking at an average of ten months in all…but then again it takes another eight months and five days to make up you mind to go to Court (getting in touch with lawyers, arranging meetings, paying them extortionate fees…) so after you add up it will almost take two years from when the monthly rental fails to show up on your bank account to when you can visit your “investment” property again. Not to mention of course that you should not expect a bottle of champagne with a with thanks note in the living room but quite the contrary: stolen fixture and fittings, destroyed furniture, missing kitchen utensils, dog crap all over the place and to get even more scatological (and not joking here), walls and curtains smothered in human fecal matter. So who the hell would want to rent with this prospect??
According to this report, 50,5% of defaulters are males and 35,7% females, the rest being companies. By nationalities, 74 out of 100 are Spaniards and the rest Brits, Germans and Romanians, by this order.
This same law firm has privately compiled a database with 6,000 Court rulings where “non-complying” tenants are named (unfortunately not publicly shamed) and so for a modest amount of money (7.50 Euros) one can know if we are dealing with the right guy. Obviously not all bad payers are registered, but if they happened to be registered and to avoid 7.50 Euros we incurred in thousands in losses, one would not be happy at all. This database should be also by checked by a lanlord who has a defaulting tenant, for a tenant which has had two court cases for the same reason can be prosecuted for criminal swindle, as opposed to a regular eviction case.
Fortunately enough, the law of averages says that finding a defaulting tenant is not always going to happen, and so it is quite possible that you will be able to have a beer or two with your tenant at some point during your commercial relationship with him/her because he/she has decided to do what all landlords are praying for, i.e., just pay the rent.
With the new law hopefully the almost twelve months from filing to firing will be reduced to, say, three or four months, we can only hope!